Infection Control

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I am compelled to write about this topic because the public has no idea what this means. I watch individuals practicing their idea of infection control with interest. They wipe down items and wear gloves all day long to protect themselves.

Lets examine the issue of wearing gloves all day long. Gloves are meant to be used once and thrown away. Gloves are an extension of your hands. What ever you touch you are contaminating the gloves as well. You are passing those same germs to your cell phone, the grocery cart, your car door and others. Once you take the gloves off wash or gel your hands. I shared this video before but it worth showing again.

Wiping down items to put them away with dirty hands is not an effective method of infection control. To pick up cleaned items with dirty hands is defeating the purpose. In fact you are contaminating what you just cleaned. Gloves should be donned (put on) prior to cleaning. Once the item is cleaned the gloves should be removed, and hands washed or disinfected with gel and another set of gloves should applied prior to picking up the clean items to put them away. If you do not have gloves, gel or wash your hands prior to and after you clean the items to ensure you are not contaminating the object. If you are handling food I strongly suggest you wash your hands with soap and water (prior to and after) and follow the same procedure.

Stay well!

The Power of Prayer!

Many people believe in prayer and a higher power, but still try to change circumstance that they have no control over. This may include going to the physician for an illness. Many try to handle the issue themselves before they seek professional help.

I was faced with a situation recently a friend needed me to take her to the emergency room for another issue. I dressed, ate breakfast and prayed that the Lord would keep me well, as I always do every morning. She was in a hurry to get to the hospital, so she called another friend. A few hours later she revealed she tested positive for COVID-19. I would have been unknowingly exposed to the virus for at least 60 minutes. I am in and out of hospitals frequently and do everything possible to keep myself well. I was so grateful that I was not exposed.

It was unfortunate that this issue occurred in the first place. I thanked the Lord, for changing the circumstances of that visit, it could have turned out badly for me. I was afraid for my friend because she had a pre-existing condition. I was hoping she could weather this double storm, with God’s help. I prayed she would recover. In retrospect she should of called an ambulance, because the workers are dressed for the exposure of any possible infection. Now another person has been exposed.

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This story did not end well. My friend died as a result of COVID-19, within two weeks of the diagnosis. I was devastated. As a nurse we deal with the results of death frequently especially with others. It is especially hard when it is someone you personally know. At the beginning of this pandemic many people did not know anyone with the disease or any one who had died from COVID-19. They did not believe it was true. That definitely was not my issue, as I am work in a variety of hospital settings frequently.

Nurses are unique, as patient advocates, they provide and support patients 24/7 through their most vulnerable times, life, death and everything in between. As a result we have to be strong for others, and give them support through their tears and fears.

Who is there for the nurse and other professionals as they deal with the stress of providing care and assisting with those who are transitioning? Lately patient deaths have become a consistent event. We are not robots but the public expects us to be happy every time they walk through the door of the hospital or clinic. People forget we are human and have emotions as well.

Pray and dependence on each other within our profession is what gets us through the shift or the day. We appreciate the thanks but empathy and personal responsibility goes a long way when we are talking about personal health. These days many people do not want to take personal responsibility for anything, including health issues. They eat things that are contrary to their health and participate in risky behavior because it is their right. These same individuals look at the medical community to reverse the outcome.

Well, I am informing you that it is tiring. Without the dedicated members of the health profession some of you would be left to your own devices. After losing my dear friend I realized that as much as I advocate for others and their risky behavior, it has been confirmed once again that I have no control over what others do.

Please continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands, someones life may depend on what you do.

COVID-19 VACCINE

With trepidation and anxiety I had the first injection of the Modera COVID-19 vaccine this week. I did not want to take the vaccine right now and wanted to wait for the next roll out. I even prayed about this and thought I would proceed slowly. My spirit was unsettled and stressed about the whole ordeal.

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As I was driving to the facility to receive my injection, and praying for a good outcome, I received a call from a relative of a friend. My friend had been in the hospital for two weeks for complications of leukemia, and she also contracted COVID-19. Prior to her going to the hospital I had asked her if the people around her were wearing a mask, she replied sometimes. Her immune system was already compromised and she needed to be extremely careful.

I was so glad to hear from her because I had not heard from her for at least a week. In fact. I feared the worse, but when you actually hear bad news, it is like a bad dream. Her sister told me she died and I was overcome with grief. This is the first person I know personally that died due with COVID-19.

I know the family is probably devastated because they probably had no idea how serious it was to protect her immunity, regardless of the COVID-19 virus. She was high risk and I feel bad that I did not overemphasize the need for her to isolate. It is too late.

That tragedy was a reminder for me to continue to stay healthy and to encourage others to do the same, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. Remember it not a guarantee that you will not get COVID-19 once you take the vaccine, especially since the virus has mutated. My next vaccine is in one month. My arm was extremely sore, after the first vaccine. I did push-ups and had to go to a virtual weight class to relieve the pain in my left arm. Please stay well…

Vaping

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With the pandemic at hand, This is a great time to quit smoking and or vaping. During this season of the flu and COVID-19, it is essential you stay in good health. The effects of vaping on the lungs can be devastating and if you be come ill with the virus your outcome may not be positive.

“The vapor or aerosol that comes out of an e-cigarette can contain substances that are addictive and can cause lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is very addictive and can harm the brain development of teenagers. If used during pregnancy, nicotine may also cause premature births and low birth weight babies” (CDC, 2019).

Vaping, has increased in young adults and has the same risk as smoking. Vaping or using e-cigerettes should not used as a substitute to quit smoking. Please take care of yourself during COVID-19. Make good choices, wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. Even if you get the vaccine, its no guarantee that you will not get the virus.

Just Keeping You Informed!

Reference

American Cancer Society. (2019). https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/american-cancer-society-warns-about-risks-of-vaping-for-youth.html

CDC. (2019). https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/cdc-and-fda-investigate-lung-illnesses-linked-to-vaping.html

Smoothie Diet

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The smoothie fad is spreading. It is a great way to supplement your diet with fruits and vegetables. Many individuals drink smoothies to lose weight. I have utilized this approach and found it challenging but doable. Check out the smoothieplan on Instagram for some great ideas to kick start your diet or to develop a new lifestyle.

One of the issues with an all liquid diet is hunger and not having the feeling of satisfaction of having a meal. I would suggest you supplement with salads, fruit and vegetables and stay away from process food. If you do not control your hunger you will be off your original plan of losing weight by binge eating something that you should not.

This recipe is an Anti-Inflammatory Pineapple Ginger Smoothie courtesy of the smoothieplan on Instagram. The ingredients include the following: 2 cups ripe pineapple, 1 cup ripe mango, 1 piece of ginger (3 inches long), 1/2 cup of celery, 1 cup of coconut water, 1 tsp fresh vanilla. It sounds delicious.

Just keeping you informed..

Change

Change is inevitable in life, nothing stays the same. Some embrace change others resist and defy it. I have always welcome change no matter how difficult it may be. Although I can say it can be quite an adjustment if you do not accept the change it may cause you to be quite unhappy.

Change happens frequently in healthcare, assignments, patients, equipment personnel and protocols. It is just the way it is and we have to adapt to the every changing environment.

I was told once, that everything starts with a decision. To accept change, you must embrace it so you can live your life to the fullest, or not. I have experienced both realities and I am sure you have as well. On one occasion as unhappy as I was I could not generate a change in location no matter what I did, and how I prayed. It was not until I decided to embrace the change and settle into the life that was before me, that the change I sought finally manifested.

Once the change occurred and I was able to relocate, the happiness was short lived and I realized I should have sought out a different outcome. I prayed for the change and got what I thought I wanted and had to accept the results. I believe God has a great sense of humor, he may not give you what you want at the moment but when he does you better be ready to accept it good or bad.

Change is like a rubber band, and you must be able to adapt easily to remain energized in life. Do not become stiff and resistant embrace the new and become the change you want to see!

Ayurveda Medicine

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Ayurveda medicine is one of the oldest medical systems and originated in India (niccih.nih.gov, 2021). The practice is based on the natural and holistic approach to both physical and mental health utilizing diet, exercise, and lifestyle. (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2021).

Clinical trials have been done utilizing Ayurveda medicine for pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes and colitis in comparison with conventional treatments and or other herbs, with inconclusive results.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, illnesses may occur due to the imbalance that occur between the psychological and physiological body, causing the unbalance of your three life forces or energies (Dreier, 2021). Ayurvedic medicine suggests a consumption of “hot” foods and or drink such as ginger which is good for colds and congestion (Dreier, 2021).

As a proponent of holistic health, I find common sense with this practice and in conjunction with traditional medicine one can remain healthy and well.

Please do not use Ayurvedic medicine instead of seeking out your physician regarding your medical issues. This blog is for informational purposes only and to increase your knowledge about holistic health and wellness. For more information about Ayurveda medicine review the websites below.

References

WedMD, (2021). What is Ayurveda. Retrieved from What Is Ayurveda? Treatments, Massage, Diet, and More (webmd.com)

What is Ayurvedic Medicine. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/ayurvedic-medicine-in-depth?nav=gov

Dreier, S. (2021). Using Ayurvedic Medicine to Fight the Common Cold and Flu. Retrieved from Using Ayurvedic Medicine to Fight the Common Cold and Flu – Soren Dreier

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

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I was asked why do I always address the elephant in the room.   I was taken back by that comment but embraced it, because it is true.   Before I go on I must explain “what is the elephant in the room” for those who are not familiar with the term.   We have all been in situations that were so uncomfortable or odd that no one wants to address and “open the can of worms”.  The heaviness in the room causes all to whisper about the situation but, no one will address the issue and elicit a discussion.  

We have all worked in environments where difficult situations were not discussed openly but acknowledged by someone in the group after the meeting.   Someone says “bless their heart”, the group snickers and continue with their activity, as they whisper among themselves.   I have always found this behavior odd, and always felt I was missing something.   I have been the person who will talk about the elephant, and put it on the table, so we can all move on, no matter how uncomfortable.

I believe it reduces friction, gets things out the open, reproduces rumors, and hopefully promotes truth.   However, I have found even though the issue is opened for discussion it may still be difficult to elicit conversation about the situation.  You may not get any answers, but you have to inquire.  

Questioning and inquiring have been my mode of operation at work and at home.  It doesn’t always end well but I inquire and on occasion people get upset and words are exchanged.  Is it better to work around the elephant in the room or upset others and attempt to address the elephant?   As I have gotten older, and my emotional intelligence has sharpened I have taken on a new attitude.  I am not as curious and inquisitive as I use to be.  I am sure this is probably due to age and life experience.  

In the past, I felt I had to speak up about things that were not equitable in the workplace.  What I found, others were not willing to support me because of their own self-interest or fears even though they may have felt the same.  It was unfortunate and a hard lesson to learn.  I found people do not always appreciate the truth and would rather hear something else, even if it is not in their self interest.

On another note, there was a insurrection by the President and his follower this week. If someone had addressed the elephant in the White House, I am sure the outcome would have been different.

As I have gotten older I have decided to remove myself from these situations.  This has not always proved to be advantageous for me, BECAUSE I can imagine the outcome, which is not always positive and I feel I should speak up.  I let others rant and rave about things and realize they do not have all the facts, but I listen, and sometimes respond.  This approach has caused me physical distress, and I used to boast I would not have ulcers because I did not internalize things that upset me, to spare others feelings.

Are their feelings more important than yours or mine and should you cause yourself harm to keep others happy by keeping quiet?  I think not, the goal in life is to remain healthy and free of disease so I believe you should speak up no matter how painful it is for you and others and do the right thing.  I do realize many do not have the resolve to speak up and are willing to go along to get along. Which is unfortunate. Sometimes YOU have to address the elephant in the room, Congress are you listening? 

As a nurse, this role is essential to ensure you are keeping patients safe and healthy, but others in the healthcare area including leadership do not always want to hear what you have to say either.   How do you handle the elephant in the room, especially when you know the outcome? 

Just keeping you informed!

Welcome to 2021

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

You can exhale now, 2020 is gone! We can move on with the expectation of the new year and what it will bring. We all would like to enjoy our families and friends once again post COVID.

Please remember to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. We are in a new year, but those infected by the virus and hospitalizations have increased, leaving health care workers tired and exhausted.

As a member of the human race, can you do your part to ensure you are not contributing to the spread of this deadly virus. It would be so nice to enjoy a wonderful spring, without mask and social distancing. A small sacrifice now will reap bountiful benefits later.

Think of others and remember we are all in this pandemic together. You may not die from the pandemic but there are long term effects of this virus. The virus can damage the lungs, heart, and brain and increase the risk of long-term health problems, including problems with the sexual dysfunction in males.

This issue requires full participation from all, not just a few. Please be a part of the solution. Just keeping you informed.

Reference

Mayo Clinic, COVID-19, Long Term Affects. Retrieved from fhttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351

Maintaining your Health and Wellbeing

Christmas is over and if you are like me, you are looking forward to 2021 and what it will bring. I am really looking forward to a new year. Many individuals make New Year’s resolutions that include losing weight and exercising. In the past the gyms were full in January with individuals dedicated to improving their health and wellbeing. Typically the dedication is gone the first week in March, and people lose interest. The gyms are open in Texas, but the uncertainty of the pandemic will determine if individuals will be going back to the gym in mass in January. I have not been going the gym, but walking outside and enjoying nature.

Never the less, you can do a few things to ensure you are meeting your health goals in the New Year. Remember physical transformation always starts with food, be sure you are eating more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods and limit your alchol intake.

Some type of physical activity and or exercise are also essential elements to maintain your health, lose weight and increase stamina. It is imperative you chose the type of exercise you enjoy. This will promote more participation, and commitment.

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Adequate sleep is also an important component, and is necessary so the body can repair itself. To ensure you are getting enough sleep, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake and the use of technology prior to going to sleep. Put yourself on a schedule and go to bed the same time every night to promote adequate sleep.

Lastly, a positive outlook will assist you to endure any challenges that may arise with your diet, exercise routine or sleep patterns. I encourage you to laugh everyday, find something to laugh about. The very act of laugher is good for your outlook and your soul. Children laugh all the time, but adults are too serious and get entangled in the trappings of life. We forget what is truly important. Move toward 2021 with a grateful heart and optimism to maintain your health and wellbeing so you can be the best you!

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Just keeping you informed!

Hallelujah Diet

According to McCoy (2009) the Hallelujah Diet is a biblical plant-based diet that can nourish your body so you can reclaim your natural self-healing power. The diet has also been reviewed by dietitians and physicians who endorse the healing properties of this diet. It requires you to give up processed food and eat more fruits and vegetables. During this pandemic it is necessary for you to be at your ideal weight, and in optimum health, but you should want that for yourself regardless.

Below are the elements of the diet for your review, taken from the website https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/hallelujah-diet.aspx.

This maybe something you would like to try after the holidays. The Hallelujah Diet suggests that 85 percent of your diet should consist of “living” foods, which include:

  • Fresh vegetable juices
  • Dairy alternatives like almond milk and banana milk
  • Organic fresh or dried fruit, though this is limited to 15 percent of daily intake
  • Uncooked whole grains, such as soaked oats and ground flax seed
  • Raw beans and peas
  • Raw nuts and seeds, eaten sparingly because of their high calorie count
  • Oils, including extra-virgin olive oil and flax oil
  • Fresh herbs and seasonings
  • Raw vegetables

The other 15 percent of your diet can consist of certain cooked foods, such as:

  • Stewed fruit
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas
  • Cooked beans
  • Homemade vegan soups
  • Steamed or stir-fried vegetables
  • Herbal teas
  • Non-dairy cheeses and milks

The following foods are strictly avoided on the Hallelujah Diet:

  • Alcohol, coffee, tea, cocoa, and carbonated drinks
  • Animal products, including meat, fish, and dairy
  • Processed foods, including canned fruits or vegetables, refined grains, and hydrogenated oils
  • Roasted or salted nuts or seeds
  • Salt and pepper

It is also suggested once you’ve start a plant-based diet, the following supplements should be taken to fill any nutritional gaps related to a vegan diet: Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3/K2, Iodine, Selenium, DHA (and omega-3 fatty acid).

This is not just a diet but a lifestyle change that takes commitment. A change in diet will change your health, and your life. Ease yourself into the change, gradually. I suggest you get a coach, or an accountability partner who is willing to make the change with you.

Commit to your diet change for a week at a time, so you do not get overwhelmed. As you finish the first week, celebrate that mile stone with a movie or treat yourself to an activity you enjoy, so you can look forward to moving to the next week with confidence. After the first week it does get better.

I have tried the diet and it is effective. I currently utilize many elements of the diet to maintain my personal health and wellness. Remember food is medicine and if you want to change your health status you must be willing to change the way you eat, even if you do not subscribe to this diet. Move to the New Year with belief that you can and will control your health and wellness by consuming more fruits and vegetables and reduce your consumption of process food. You might surprise yourself and your physician on your next visit.

McCoy, K. (2009). The Hallelujah Diet, retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/hallelujah-diet.aspx

Black American’s Skeptical View of the COVID-19 Vaccine

There is skepticism about the current offer of the COVID-19 vaccine, within the Black community. Many Black Americans do not trust the scientific/research community associated with marketing the vaccine. The trust has been eroded and there is anxiety and fear regarding this issue.

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For those who are not aware, there are several events that have affected the psyche of Black Americans, related to the medical community.  The Tuskegee Study involved enrolling Black men in a syphilis study in 1932 for the promise of free healthcare. Once penicillin was discovered as a cure in 1947, this information was not shared with the participants. The physicians felt the goal was to continue the study until all the participants died and the autopsies could be analyzed.

As a result the participants suffered the long term affects of the disease, that included but not limited to arthritis, brain damage, blindness and death. The disease was also passed to 19 children at birth. It was not until the mid 1960’s that this unethical behavior was discovered, and the study was not stopped until 1972 after public out cry.

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Another unethical event involved Henrietta Lax, who was being treated at John Hopkins Hospital for cervical cancer in 1951 and passed away. The physician did not get her consent or inform Ms. Lax or her family that he was using her cells for medical research after she died. In fact the family did not find out about the breach in the informed consent process until 1975.

The HELA cells, as they called now, has been shared with a multitude of researchers by biotech companies who have made millions selling the families genetic data. The use of the HELA cells has contributed to medical research for many diseases. Ms. Lax and her heirs have never received any monetary compensation from the million dollar biotech companies that utilize the HELA cells in their research.

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In both of the cases, researchers were never forth coming about the information. Modern day issues include, health disparities and implicit bias by many medical professional toward minorities and the poor.

Since public trust has been eroded by the research and medical community they will have to go the extra mile to ensure all questions and concerned are addressed. The issues of trust should have been anticipated and hopefully it will be seriously addressed by the research community.

As a nurse and former research nurse, who is not on the front line, I probably will not be eligible for the vaccine until next year. Hopefully the side effects are few because the front line staff are essential to maintaining health & wellness to the masses. Everything remains to be seen and with more information coming we all can make informed decisions regarding the vaccine and our health.

In the meantime, continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and social distance. We want you to do your part to stay safe and healthy and reduce the spread.

References:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/25/556673640/scientists-work-to-overcome-legacy-of-tuskegee-study-henrietta-lacks

Nix, E, 2019, Tuskegee Experiment: The Infamous Syphilis Study – HISTORY

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